As I raced out of the Rose Bowl late Thursday night into a sea of crimson, I got the first clue. It continued as I rode down the Ventura Freeway past Burbank, Hollywood and Beverly Hills on the way to LAX, hearing hoops and hollers and the unremitting sound of “Roll Tide.”
Just before midnight, navigating through the painstaking security at the airport, the smiles stayed wide and the crash of cheers continued. As the plane rode the jet stream over three times zones and finally arrived at dawn on Friday morning in Birmingham to a bone-chilling 14 degrees, the chant continued. Sky caps at the airport yelled “Roll Tide” and so did cashiers at the newsstand with the local paper proclaiming Alabama on top of the college football world — again.